This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 08/11/2017.
Review: The Cronx Bar
It’s become somewhat fashionable to suggest that prior to Boxpark’s arrival, Croydon lacked good places to eat and drink. This is, of course, an exaggeration and somewhat unfair on existing Croydon businesses.
However, one thing that Croydon did lack was a purist beer bar; although there are many pubs that serve an excellent range of cask ales – the Green Dragon, Oval Tavern and the George to mention a few – none of these serves a range that totally excludes mainstream beers.
This is where Boxpark (or more precisely, Croydon’s own Cronx brewery) has delivered, with the excellent Cronx Bar filling the gap. A micro-pub sized bar, though not with traditional micro-pub conventions (there are lots of electric sockets to plug in your devices, and mobile phone use is permitted). You will not find Stella, Carling, Corona or Doom Bar here. What you will find are the Cronx ales both on cask and often on keg too – incidentally it’s worth doing a taste comparison if you find the same beer on both dispense methods – those who have always professed to prefer cask ale may be surprised!
You will usually find a couple of weird and wonderful brews
A simple but surprisingly comfortable layout is dominated on one wall by an impressionistic portrayal of the brewing process by Joefur (Joseph Furlong) whose work also appears outside Matthews Yard. Redundant Cronx casks have been adapted into stools.
Across the six hand pumps a couple of guest ales are usually available, recently featuring the Downlands brewery from the south coast, and Redemption, from Tottenham. Their Urban Dusk bitter was a specially brewed beer for the bar’s first birthday and was boosted with honey and chillies – intriguing and tasty.
For many drinkers the ten keg taps will appeal – there is always a proper lager (often Kaltenberg, or, recently, Gipsy Hill Superfan) and a cider, usually Kingstone Press. The other eight taps serve an ever-changing variety of beers from smaller brewers, local and from afar. You will usually find a couple of weird and wonderful brews, such as Pig & Porter’s Mango Daiquiri IPA or Brixton Brewery’s Nuclear Dawn, a sour beer, which is a trending beer style at the moment.
Manager Clare Puttick and her staff are without fail friendly and very knowledgeable about beer – all beer lovers of any age or sex are welcome here and it is certainly not a male-dominated establishment. The bar is also wheelchair accessible.
The bar’s opening hours are restricted by those of Boxpark, thanks to toilet limitations
The bar is also a good place to escape the continual over-loud generic dance music inflicted on Boxpark users. There usually is music, often rock, and at a level which allows conversation.
The only difficulty is the toilets, which are part of the main Boxpark building. Therefore the bar’s opening hours are restricted by those of Boxpark and on a few occasions when there is a ticketed event the toilets are inaccessible to those without tickets, and therefore the bar has to close. Although this only happens rarely, Boxpark should urgently address this issue.
I do hope that the Cronx Bar continues to exist once Boxpark closes – hopefully there will be many vacant premises that will be available to them at a fair rent. In the meantime, do support one of the few local businesses in Boxpark – you will enjoy it!